Monday, October 26, 2015

A Mix of Species

Northern Shovelers are such graceful birds in flight. I posted another frame from this series back in the spring. I was glad to capture them against the backdrop of a sycamore rather than just sky. They have one of the longer wingspans of ducks. When their young are born, they have a regular duckbill shape. It is only as the mature that the bill becomes "spoonbill" shaped with the tip being almost twice as wide as the base.

This is about as monochrome as it gets out in the wild. These are mostly Lesser Yellowlegs with a couple of Snipe mixed in.

Blue-winged Teal can be very difficult to photograph because they spend so much time with their heads underwater. If they had not been moving from one mud flat to another, I would not have gotten so many with their heads above water. Notice how difficult it would be to identify the females from other similarly mottled females of other species. They do have a telltale patch of blue on their wing, but it is not always visible.

Lesser Yellowlegs eat mostly insects but will occasionally eat small fish if the opportunity arises. I photographed one catching and eating a small fish in the spring. Females will abandon the nest before the young can fly, leaving the male to defend them until they can fend for themselves.

When they are only moving a short distance to another location, they won't tuck their feet, but will let them hang down in readiness to land. Many other species also do this. It is not as aerodynamic as pure flight.

Early on, I was able to photograph some striking images of Snowy Egrets against mud backdrops that appeared almost as if they were painted. It caused the birds to really stand out. The streams that coursed through the mud narrowed the area where minnows could swim, making it easier for them to be caught.

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